COPYRIGHT, PLEASE NOTE

All the material on this website is copyrighted to J-P Metsavainio, if not otherwise stated. Any content on this website may not be reproduced without the author’s permission.

Have a visit in my portfolio

Vieraile portfoliossani

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Cygnus Wall


A fast image from the last night, the Cygnus Wall, a part of the much large North america Nebula, NGC 7000. This is a relatively bright formation, three hours of H-alpha light and half an hour of O-III was captured for this photo. S-II channel is borrowed from an older wide field image, since the clouds rolled in before I was able to shoot it.


Cygnus Wall
Click for a large image

Mapped colors from an emission of the ionized elements, Red=Sulfur, Green=Hydrogen and the Blue =Oxygen.

Detail from the image above



INFO
Source: NASA APOD

The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall. The above image shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The part of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).

Technical details

Processing work flow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge HD 1100 telescope

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar x2
Astrodon filter, 5nm H-aplha
Astrodon filter, 3nm O-III

Exposure times
H-alpha 6 x 1200s = 3h
O-III 3 x 600s = 30min. 
S-II is borrowed from my older wide field image

A single un cropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tulip Nebula, the finalized project



I made a deeper view of the Tulip Nebula (Sharpless 101, Sh2-101) by adding some more exposure time.
There are now nearly 9h of H-alpha exposures integrated. I exposed couple of hours new O-III but most of the colors are from an older wider field image of mine.

Tulip Nebula, Sh2-101
in constellation Cygnus, click for a large image

Image is in mapped colors from emission of the ionized elements, Red=Sulfur, Green=Hydrogen and the Blue =Oxygen. If you like to have a photographic print, click HERE

A detail from the image above



A microquasar Cygnus X-1
Shown in a starless image

I removed all the stars but the microquasar Cygnus X-1. It can be seen as a bright dot at upper right.
The curved bow shock structure can be seen in the image above, just left from the microquasar itself.

INFO
Source: NASA APOD

What happens to matter that falls toward an energetic black hole? In the case of Cygnus X-1, perhaps little of that matter actually makes it in. Infalling gas may first collide not only with itself but with an accretion disk of swirling material surrounding the black hole. The result may be a microquasar that glows across the electromagnetic spectrum and produces powerful jets that expel much of the infalling matter back into the cosmos at near light speed before it can even approach the black hole's event horizon. Confirmation that black hole jets may create expanding shells has come recently from the discovery of shells surrounding Cygnus X-1. The physical processes that create the black hole jets is a topic that continues to be researched.

Tulip Nebula in visual palette

Emission channels are composed to match to a visual spectrum. If you like to have a photographic print, click HERE


H-alpha emission alone




A wide field image of the area

Colors for the new image are partly from this wide field shot. Original data can be seen HERE


Technical details

Processing work flow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge HD 1100 telescope

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar
Astrodon filter, 5nm H-aplha
Astrodon filter, 3nm O-III
Astrodon filter, 3nm S-II

Exposure times
H-alpha 26 x 1200s = 8h 40 min
O-III 6 x 600s = 1h
S-II 6x 600s = 1h

A single un cropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame





Monday, October 27, 2014

A start of the new project, the Tulip Nebula



At night of 23.10 I managed to shoot 3h 20min H-alpha lights for the Tulip Nebula in constellation Cygnus.
It looks like we going to have a clear nigh ahead, I'll shoot more lights for the emission of Hydrogen and if possible, some data for other two emission lines, O-III and S-II.

I need some more signal to show better the area of Cygnus X-1, a black hole candidate. It's a strong source of X-ray emission and there are some interesting but kind of dim shock fronts around the X-1.  This microquasar is a brighter of two stars above the Tulip Nebula, just middle right at one o'clock position.

The Tulip Nebula
Click for a large image

The Tulip Nebula at H-alpha light only, 10 x 1200s.

Some optical analysis

I'm amazed about the optical quality of the Celestron Edge HD 1100 with a 0.7 reducer for the Edge scope.
The massive reducer seems to do some magic, since the whole image area of the massive CCD in Apogee Alta U16 camera (36,8 x36,8mm) gets filled with a pinpoint stars from corner to corner.  That shouldn't be possible, since the CCD is somehow larger, than the light path in Edge scope. See the image bellow.


As seen in the schematics, there should be some unusable areas at corners of the image. 

A single uncropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame


Image above is an uncropped, calibrated and stretched, frame directly from the camera. Even the very corners are filled with a pinpoint stars.

Analysis of the image field
With the CCDInspector software

There is some very minor tweaking needed for the perfect collimation. Otherwise the image field is nearly perfectly flat. One pixel is about one arcseconds in this analysis. 


Image corners as a closeup
Note. Images are from a single unprocessed, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame












Some very minor distortion can be seen, especially at image 2. That's due to some slight miss collimation. So large sensor is very picky about a correct distance (146,5mm), collimation and tilt.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cederblad 214, the second light photo for my new setup



The second light for the new setup, Cederblad 214 in constellation Cepheus. Once again, I was impressed about the needed exposure time. For a good S/N only 2h of exposures was needed for H-alpha. A good image scale (~1 arcsecond/pixel) and a narrow pass band is a good combination.


Cederblad 214 (Ced 214), NGC 7822, Sharpless 171
Click for a large image

Image is in mapped colors from emission of the ionized elements, Red=Sulfur, Green=Hydrogen and the Blue =Oxygen.

A closeup
Click for a large image

Pillar like formations of Cederblad 214

INFO
Source: NASA APOD

Towering pillars of cold gas and dark dust adorn the center star forming region of Sharpless 171. An open cluster of stars is forming there from the gas in cold molecular clouds. As energetic light emitted by young massive stars boils away the opaque dust, the region fragments and picturesque pillars of the remnant gas and dust form and slowly evaporate. The energetic light also illuminates the surrounding hydrogen gas, causing it to glow as an emission nebula. Pictured above is the active central region of the Sharpless 171 greater emission nebula. Sharpless 171 incorporates NGC 7822 and the active region Cederblad 214, much of which is imaged above. The area above spans about 20 light years, lies about 3,000 light years away, and can be seen with a telescope toward the northern constellation of the King of Ethiopia (Cepheus).


A study about shapes in the nebula

All pillar like formations are pointing to a source of ionization, the open cluster NGC 7822. There are some more dense areas in a gas, able to resist the radiation pressure from young star cluster. Those dense areas, at a tip of the pillars, are also potential places for the formations of the new stars.


An older wide field image of the area
"The Cosmic Question Mark"

The area of interest is pointed out with a white rectangle.
Info about this older image can be seen HERE

Technical details

Processing work flow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge HD 1100 telescope

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar
Astrodon filter, 5nm H-aplha
Astrodon filter, 3nm O-III
Astrodon filter, 3nm S-II

Exposure times
H-alpha 6 x 1200s = 2h
O-III 3 x 600s = 1h
S-II 3x 600s = 1h

A single un cropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame



Friday, October 24, 2014

First light image, for my new observatory setup, finalized




This is an official first light for my new imaging setup. It's mechanically and optically much more advanced, than my old setup. It's also much more photon hungry due to good image scale, around one pixel/arcsecond.
For example, I needed only 2,5h of H-alpha exposures per panel to have a very good signal in this image.
This is a really capable set of tools for my art. 

The first light image

I selected a well known and popular target for the first light. It's so much imaged, than it's easy to make comparisons between my old images and others in the web. How ever, I wanted to have a little different view to this target and decided to shoot a two panel mosaic out of it. The idea was concentrated to the dark dust lanes and filaments in the area, not the eye catching gas formations itself.

The Pelican Nebula
in constellation Cygnus, click for a large image

Image is in visual spectrum from emission of the ionized elements. The original image is ~8000x4000 pixels.

Pelican Nebula in mapped colors
Click for a large image

Image is in mapped colors from emission of the ionized elements, Red=Sulfur, Green=Hydrogen and the Blue =Oxygen.

Vertical versions
Click for a large image





Orientation

The white rectangle shows the area of interest. Colors are also borrowed from this older wide field image.

Technical details

Processing work flow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge telescope

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar
Astrodon filter, 5nm H-aplha

Total exposure time
H-alpha 2,5h / panel

Colorimages
Colors are taken from an older wide field image of the area.
The wide field image can be seen here:
http://astroanarchy.blogspot.fi/2011/12/cygnus-mosaic-18-panels-and-22-x-14.html


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Variable star in the Pelican Nebula



I'll continue with the Pelican nebula tonight, if the weather allows. My goal is to make a two frame mosaic out of this beautiful area.

I made a comparison between my older image from Autumn 2009 and the new one from October 19. 2014.
I noticed a variable star at the image and I made a small animation out of it.

Variable star in the Pelican Nebula, an animation
Click for a large image

Animation between two images, one from Autumn 2009, the other from this Autumn

The whole image of the Pelican Nebula can be seen HERE

The variable star is an Emission-line Star 2MASS J20503695+4421408 

Here is a SIMBAD database report out of it:
http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=%4058843&Name=2MASS%20J20503695%2b4421408&submit=submit



Sunday, October 19, 2014

First light for a new observatory



After a long time, a new photography! This is a first light for my new imaging setup and the observatory location. My observatory locates now at middle of the city, next to my home.


There are only 3h of H-alpha filtered light for this first light image of the Pelican Nebula. Original image size was 4096 x 4096 pixels and the image scale is 0.95 arcsecond/ pixel. Field of view is 63 x 63 arcminutes, that's little over a square degree of sky. (A full Moon has an apparent angular diameter of 30 arcminutes, that's half a degree.)

Pelican Nebula, the first light image
Click for a full size view.

This is image shows the emission of ionized hydrogen alone. Exposure time only 3h.

Image above is an uncropped frame, it's stacked from nine 20 min, exposures. Stars are absolute pinpoints from edge to edge! Seeing wasn't very good at the time, FWHM around 3,5 arcseconds. I was very surprised about the image, since the Celestron Edge HD 1100 shouldn't be able to lit this massive CCD 100%. There are some darkenings at corners but the flat frame was able to calibrate it away. Image above is uncropped, just couple of dozens pixels are cut away from sides due to some stacking artefacts.

I have now the 50mm square Astrodon narrow band filters. They are much narrower, than the Baader set I used to have. H-alpha passband is 5nm, the Baader was 7nm wide. Even large difference is with O-III and S-II filters, they both are 3nm wide, the Baader was 8,5nm for O-III and 8nm for S-II.
The narrower passband means more toleration against light pollution, more nebula details and smaller stars.

The 10-Micron mount from Italy is an absolute mechanical masterpiece! Maximum guiding error during a 20min. exposure was about 0,4 arcseconds at both axes. Pointing accuracy is stunning, any target was just middle of crosshair after a slew. 

The Apogee Alta U16 is a finest camera I have ever used! It's very heavy and the CCD is massive, 4096 x 4096, 9 micron pixels. Image below show the size difference between the KAF 8300 CCD-chip, I used before, and the KAF 16803 CCD-chip in my new camera. KAF 8300 is a great CCD but the KAF 16803 is much more suitable for large telescopes with long focal length.



Color images

I borrowed colors from my older wide field image for now. I'll shoot new color channels for this target as soon as the weather permits. I'll also shoot couple of hours more H-alpha lights for better signal to noise.

Mapped colors
Click for a large image, image is little cropped for a visual composition only.


Visual spectrum



A data from this image was used for colors 

The area of interest is marked as white rectangle.

Technical details

Processing work flow

Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics

Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge telescope

Cameras and filters

Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar
Astrodon filter, 5nm H-aplha

Exposure time

H-alpha 3h

Colorimages

Colors are taken from an older wide field image of the area.
The wide field image can be seen here:
http://astroanarchy.blogspot.fi/2011/12/cygnus-mosaic-18-panels-and-22-x-14.html






Monday, October 13, 2014

Cygnus panorama



While waiting the weather to clear, I reprocessed my older material to keep up my skills. This one turned to be so nice. I decided to publish it here.

Cygnus Panorama 
Click for a large image. Note. A largish file, 2400 x 1100 pixels and 3.6MB

A mosaic photo of constellation Cygnus in narrowband colors, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. Note. The "noise" at background is not a noise but massive amount of stars!


Labeled 
Click for a large image

Note. A relative size of the Moon is marked at lower Right corner


An original photo and processing, with the technical details, can be seen HERE







Monday, October 6, 2014

A new imaging setup starts to build up.



At beginning of the last Spring season my old imaging setup blew up

During a mandatory Summer pause I have been building a new imaging set up little by little. It starts to be ready mechanically, I need to wait for a couple of clear nights to be able to finalize the setup procedure. 

Without a help from couple of great companies this could be a mission impossible for me.



I have got the most needed help from the beloved neighbour country, Sweden! The Astro Sweden is a largish company specialized to astronomical equipments. They have support my work by equipments and technical knowhow.


Starlight Xpress CCD

I have been using many years some very clever products from the UK based company, Starlight Xpress .
I now have a new Active Optics unit from them, it supports full frame CCD cameras. With the AO-unit I'm using an OAG with the ultra sensitive guider, Lodestar X2. I used to have a smaller version of the AO-unit and Lodestar guider for many years. They really turn any poorly tracking mount to a extremely stable imaging platform. Best of all, the AO-unit works with any third party imaging camera, like the Apogee in my case.


New Setup
click for a large image


Light path

The Active Optics Unit from Starlight Xpress CCD  is attached to a large custom made adapter ring at right.

List of new equipments
  • Mount, 10-micron 1000
  • Optics, Celestron Edge HD 1100
  • Camera, Apogee U16 D09 with KAF16803 chip, 4096x4096 9 microns pixels, 36,8x36,8mm 
  • Filter Wheel, Apogee, seven square slots 50x50mm 
  • Focuser, FeatherTouch with MicroTouch control unit 
  • Heater, Dew Buster 
  • Active Optics Unit, SXV AO LF from Starlight Xpress + OAG 
  • Guider, an ultra sensitive Lodestar X2, also from Starlight Xpress 
  • Focal Reducer, Celestron reducer 0.7 for Edge 1100 (Not yet arrived) 
  • Finder, Telrad 
  • Filters, Astrodon, H-alpha 5nm, O-III 3nm, S-II 3nm. R, G, B and L
I need to wait for a clear weather to be able to finalize the setup. Few things must be done before any imaging is possible. 


To do list

  1. Polar alignment, The axis of the telescope must be exactly parallel to Earth axis 
  2. Collimation, the optical axis must be perfectly concentric 
  3. Fine tune any possible tilt in CCD to have it perfectly perpendicular to light path. 
  4. FocusMax training, ~30 V-curves to have an accurate model of the optical behavior for auto focusing. 
  5. Temperature compensation training, so that temp expansion of the optics can be compensated.